• Steven Heller

How Abstract Art Made Us Clean

There’s a lot of filth in the world of arts, letters and education. Particularly in the 1950s, even before the current president made it OK to be smutty, immoral, suggestive and lustful. Booklets issued by decency groups did their best to contain the content, and one of the graphic design methods was abstract illustration.

They weren’t Jackson Pollack or Willem De Kooning or Franz Klein, but the abstract form was ambiguous enough to keep the depictions from being too salacious yet cautionary at the same time. Here are a couple of choice examples.

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